Nadal attire draws comment
Rafael Nadal has abandoned his trademark sleeveless tops and capri pants for T-shirts and above-the-knee shorts at this year’s Australian Open. Not everyone likes it. Sports bloggers and fan forums have been puzzled by his new attire, with at least one female blogger complaining that she missed seeing his sculpted biceps. Nadal shrugged off the interest. “For sure, when you have a change, some people like, other people don’t like,” Nadal said. “For sure with the sleeveless, not everybody like the sleeveless. Right now gonna be the same, no? I feel good like this,” he said. “Important thing in the end is not the clothes; is the ball and racket and play well.”
Fan goes too far
Sebastien de Chaunac appreciated his vocal fans during his second-round match on Thursday — all but one. The Frenchman was serving to American James Blake at the beginning of the third set when a man courtside began to encourage him. De Chaunac asked the chair umpire to intervene. Later, during a big rally, the man started again. “It was a pretty big point, it was probably my last chance to break James ... and the guy was talking to me before every hit, saying, ‘Come on, come on, yeah, yeah, allez,”’ de Chaunac said. “I could have won the point, but I lost it.” De Chaunac approached the man and spoke to him: “I just told him in a bad way in French to shut up.” The man apologized but later in the match was escorted out when he continued to talk during points. De Chaunac lost to Blake 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. “I don’t know if he was doing it on purpose or he didn’t realize,” de Chaunac said. “He looked so happy to be there, maybe more happy than I was. It was kind of an awkward situation. You want to keep him on your side, but on the other hand, he’s too loud.”
Serena recalls best win
Asked for her greatest win ever, Serena Williams nominated a triumph over Andy Roddick, when she about 11. “There’s an argument about the score,” the second-seeded Williams, winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles, said. “I think I beat him like 6-1. He says it was 6-4. He always says he’s ready for a rematch, but there’s no need for a rematch.” She said Roddick, winner of the US Open in 2003 and seeded seventh in the men’s draw here, will “hate me for saying that!” Williams said her victory came in a practice match in Florida when they were both much younger but noted that “age doesn’t matter.” And she had other “unofficial” wins, she said. “Indirectly, you know, I’ve beaten a lot of people on the men’s tour,” she laughed. “Indirectly I have wins over [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal. Just so exciting.”
‘Bad girl’ Vaidisova fined
Nicole Vaidisova became the first woman to be fined at this year’s Australian Open yesterday, joining 18 men penalized for bad behavior at the season’s first grand slam. The Czech received a US$2,000 penalty from the International Tennis Federation for failing to appear at a news conference after her 6-2, 6-1 first round loss to Severine Bremond of France. The former world No. 7 has slipped down the rankings after a poor run last year and is now outside the top 50. Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov has copped the heftiest dent to his wallet in the first five days, being fined US$500 for racket abuse and another US$2,500 for verbal abuse. Both fines stemmed from the 29th seed’s first round loss to Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla.